355 Paper.docx - Varde 1 The Iranian Revolution of 1979 Divya Varde HIST 335 The Modern Middle East May 1 2018 Varde 2 Introduction The events of the

355 Paper.docx - Varde 1 The Iranian Revolution of 1979...

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Varde 1 The Iranian Revolution of 1979 Divya Varde HIST 335: The Modern Middle East May 1, 2018
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Varde 2 Introduction The events of the 1979 Iranian Revolution inaugurated an era of clashes between Islamic fundamentalism and political secularism that had been rising in the Middle East. The concept of a ‘revolution’ was given a much stronger meaning after the overthrow of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the rise of Khomeini as there was a shift in economic and political power—not only in Iran but throughout the Middle East. As further elaborated by Arjomand, “Revolutions are collective political acts which result in the violent overthrow of regime and may bring about drastic changes in the social structure.” 1 Economic, political, and social factors of Iran had a pivotal role in the unfolding of the revolution. However, there is much debate over whether the Iranian Revolution was an Islamic- centered revolution or, to an extent, Khomeini’s revolution. After Shah Pahlavi was returned to power, aided by the United States and Great Britain, Iran experienced a rapid wave of modernization influenced by the West and disapproved by its own people. What the Shah saw as improving Iran, only benefited the few elite members and reduced the quality of life of everyday workers and citizens drastically. Root Causes Economic The economic and political events that led to the Iranian Revolution play hand-in-hand. Before the emergence of Mohammad Reza Shah to power, his father Reza Shah was prominently known for instilling a harsh political dictatorship using influences from the West. Opposition to the regime arose through the leadership of Mohammad Mossadegh who aimed to limit the powers of the Shah and his administration. Unlike the Shah, Mossadegh strongly resisted foreign 1 Arjomand, Said Amir. "The Causes and Significance of the Iranian Revolution." State, Culture, and Society 1, no. 3 (1985): 41-66. .
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Varde 3 influence and took it upon his administration to carry out progressive social reforms in favor of the citizens. It was not until 1951, when the Iranian Parliament voted to nationalize the Anglo- Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) which further undermined British power. As mentioned within his speech regarding this decision, Mossadegh states “Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries…have yielded no results thus far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people.” 2 Mossadegh’s intentions of nationalizing the oil industry was for the benefit of Iran as the revenues would
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